I have to admit– having all three release dates cascading down on me in less than a month was something of a shock. I did not expect that, and I’m sure people are sick of me. Amy Lane? She has another one out? Really? Isn’t there a rule, like a mongrel dog popping out too many puppies? Doesn’t she need to be fixed?
Well, yeah, probably, but I’m not going to concede yet that I’m broken, so we’ll just leave it at this. Anyway, I’m proud of Behind the Curtain, particularly because it came so soon after Going Up! Going Up! was all about grown-ups, (okay, well, sort of– Zach really was the perfect example of the socially-handicapped 8th grader in a man’s body) who have decided who they are and what they are going to be.
Behind the Curtain isn’t anything like that.
Dawson Barnes isn’t a fully fledged grown-up yet. He’s not as young as Rusty in Christmas Kitsch, and he’s definitely higher on the confidence and self-realization scale, but still– he’s very cognizant that the best part about college is that he’s open to possibilities.
Jared Emory, his love interest, has only one of those.
Together they have a rather quirky chemistry, but they also have the seeds of Dawson’s adulthood: Dawson needs to see the world from the other side of the curtain. In order to do this, he needs to look beyond what’s simple and what’s easy, and commit himself to a path. In this case, his path is Jared.
Like Christmas Kitsch, this book borrows a lot from my own experiences as a young adult in love. Unlike Rusty’s story, Behind the Curtain plays with my background in theatre, and my love of that big vaulted room with the dusty velvet curtains and the hard, bright lights, and the stories told on stage. I sent this one to Chicken, and she read it and said, “Geez, mom– you really did pay attention when you were backstage at my dance recital, didn’t you!”
I said, “Well, it wasn’t like I wasn’t in theatre from sixth grade through Junior College, was it!” Of course, unlike Dawson, I decided not to make theater my major (I had nowhere near his talent backstage, and none of Jared’s talent in front of the curtain) but still…
There is a peculiar kind of magic when you are living in the theater. Every emotion becomes exaggerated, and every gesture is infused with meaning. People date, break up, cheat on each other, grow up, and all of it is on display, even if it’s not on stage, because the atmosphere is so closed, so devoted to in front of the curtain and behind it, with no thought to outside the theater, even. The moment people become aware of the outside of the theater, that’s it. They’ve grown up, and they’re no longer part of the claustrophobic little family on the stage.
That’s sort of what this story is about. The moment you realize that your little makeshift family during college isn’t going to be your family forever. It’s the moment you grab your lovers hand and say, “The world is so much wider than this place, and we’re going to explore it together.” That doesn’t mean you leave the theater, per se– it just means you outgrow your home turf and move on to other things.
Behind the Curtain is out on Monday, January 6th– and, of course, I’ll have an excerpt and a blurb then– but I wanted to talk about it now, because it really did jump out of the box and surprise me!
On New Year’s Eve, Mate took the kids out to the zoo while I sat and let my foot recover from, well, being my foot, I guess, and other than that? Lots of movies, lots of resting, lots of gearing up for another busy, busy year. I don’t know what to tell you– time well spent, but not time well reported really. I guess really, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Oh yeah– I swear on my life that’s a hat Chicken is holding. I’m going to keep going and keep going, until it’s long enough to wrap around the neck and work as a muffler too. Seriously, folks, that is one epic hat. But then, what else did y’all think I was gonna knit?